Abstract # 1186 Event # 439:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 29, 2006 02:00 PM-04:00 PM: Session 52 (Kuku) Symposium


SYMPOSIUM: CREATURES OF THE DARK REVISITED: A REASSESSMENT OF DIVERSITY AND TAXONOMIC TOOLS IN NOCTURNAL PRIMATES

P. Honess1,2 and S. Bearder3
1University of Oxford, Dept. of Vet Services, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, United Kingdom, 2Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford Brookes University, 3Dept of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, UK.
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     Thirteen years after the ‘Creatures of the Dark: The Nocturnal Prosimians’ conference at Duke University in June 1993 much has changed in our understanding of the true level of diversity among these typically small cryptic primates. The application of new taxonomic tools (particularly the identification of species-specific vocalisations and molecular analysis) to resolving species-identity issues has resulted in significant increases in the number of species recognised, in particular among the dwarf bushbabies (Galagoides spp.), mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.), slender lorises (Loris spp.) and tarsiers (Tarsius spp.). This symposium will not only aim to clarify the current state of nocturnal prosimian taxonomy but also to examine the contribution and limitations of traditional and emerging taxonomic tools. Individual contributions will focus on the current classification of different taxonomic groups of prosimians and others will concentrate on methodological aspects aimed at improving and refining our understanding of the diversity of this otherwise often neglected group of primates. Uganda provides a most appropriate context for this symposium both for its important historical role in alerting us to the possible level of hidden diversity among dwarf bushbabies and its high number of species that illustrates an important portion the diversity of Africa’s nocturnal primates.